Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, February 16, 2004

OA needed to prevent "looming water crisis"

The International Council for Science (ICSU) and the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO) have released a position paper, Harnessing Science and Technology for Sustainable Development: Water, Sanitation and Human Settlements, designed to set the stage for the upcoming Twelfth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (New York, April 19-30, 2004). Excerpt:
Strengthening the public domain for science and ensuring free and open access to scientific data and information are essential steps in the construction of an equitable information society and in preventing the looming water crisis. [...]

[E]ven where the hardware is available [to close the digital divide], scientific data and information in many areas are not universally and openly accessible. IPR regimes, data base protection legislation, and the cost of some scientific journals are still contributing to a very significant knowledge divide in science and technology in general and S&T for sustainable freshwater management in particular.

Barriers to research are also barriers to the benefits of research. The ICSU/WFEO paper is one of the first to be specific in connecting OA to the solution of an urgent public-health problem.